ST. LOUIS -- When the Cubs began the season, manager Joe Maddon's motto was "Embrace the Target," which was emblazoned on T-shirts issued in Spring Training. After winning 97 games last season and getting to the National League Championship Series, Maddon believed other teams would be aiming at his club.
Now that Chicago is on the verge of clinching the NL Central for the first time since 2008, does Maddon have a new theme?
"We've got something," Maddon said with a smile. The "Embrace the Target" attitude doesn't quite work, he said, because "everybody's good at that point."
"At this time of the year, when you get to [the posteason], everybody's pretty good and everybody will feel that [pressure]," Maddon said.
Does Maddon anticipate any problems if the Cubs clinch early?
"I really believe it's in the approach," Maddon said Wednesday. "You can have all these different plans mapped out, but it's up to the individual guys."
• Mike Montgomery will make his fifth start for the Cubs on Thursday, opening the final regular-season homestand against the Brewers. He's been the sixth starter, and Maddon said Chicago may keep Montgomery in the rotation for one more turn.
Montgomery said he's benefitted from the Cubs' stellar defense.
"It's almost like, 'Hey, here you go, hit it, and don't worry because we have a guy who will make a diving catch or jump in the stands or make a play look routine that's really not,'" Montgomery said. "The defense is unbelievable."
• The Cubs' short-season Class A Eugene club defeated Everett, 2-1, on Tuesday to win the Northwest League Championship. It's Eugene's first outright league championship since 1975. Lefty Manuel Rondon gave up one run over five innings, and Kevonte Mitchell had two hits and one RBI. Yeiler Peguero delivered the decisive RBI in the fifth inning.
• If you're sitting near the Cubs' bullpen and it smells good, it's probably Héctor Rondón. The reliever likes to spray a little cologne before he takes the field, and his "gamer" scent is "Sexual" by Michael Germain.
"I like to smell good," Rondon said. "You feel fresh."
Rondon isn't the only one. Pedro Strop also spritzes himself with cologne before he goes to the bullpen.